Paul Fatt made discoveries that are fundamental to our understanding of synaptic transmission in the nervous system. He grew up in the USA and saw service in World War II, but came to London in 1948 as a research student supported by the GI Bill. His seminal work with Bernard Katz at University College London (UCL), John Eccles in Canberra, and Bernard Ginsborg at UCL was carried out during an intense period between 1950 and 1960. His work with Katz demonstrated for the first time that neurotransmitter is released in small packets, or ‘quanta’. His work with Eccles (and Katz) provided an understanding of the mechanism underlying synaptic inhibition, and his work with Ginsborg identified voltage-gated calcium currents for the first time. Furthermore, in the early 1960s his electrical measurements of the muscle transverse tubule system contributed to the early models of excitation–contraction coupling in muscle. The final period of his research career was spent working on phototransduction in the visual system.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society